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Phoenix Digital Divide Solution, 'PHX DECC' Connects 250K Familieshttps://www.phoenix.gov/newsroom/ced/2037Community and Economic Development8/25/2021 7:00:00 AMhttps://www.phoenix.gov/newssite/Lists/NewsArticle/Attachments/2037/NEWSROOM_CED_08001.jpgPhoenix Digital Divide Solution, 'PHX DECC' Connects 250K Families<div class="ExternalClass5C96200D317D459EBDE09E25BB885261"><html> <p>Deployed as a digital divide solution, the Phoenix Digital Education Connection Canopy is a replicable network connecting students to schoolwork and virtual classrooms in Phoenix, Arizona.<br></p><p style="text-align:center;"><em>By Eric Jay Toll for PHX Newsroom</em><br></p> <p>“It’s the silver lining from the pandemic cloud,” said Laura Pastor, Phoenix city councilwoman, whose district includes many of the city’s digitally underserved neighborhoods. “Children will no longer need to sit in library parking lots or coffee shops to access high-speed broadband to do their homework.”</p> <p>The COVID-19 health emergency closed schools, libraries and community centers, sending students to learn from home. Realizing that more than 250,000 families did not have access or adequate internet speeds to go to school or complete assignments, city and education officials clamored for a digital divide solution.</p> <p>“Overcoming challenges is in Phoenix’s DNA,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. “This is a great example of how, by looking at things differently, we can produce innovative solutions that highlight Phoenix as a top-tier city. PHX DECC is a cost-effective, collaborative, digital divide solution we’re proud to champion.”</p> <p>In a nearly 18-month effort, the concept, the testing and the reality came together with a scalable digital divide solution connecting students to virtual classrooms, conferences, homework assignments and curated school resources.</p> <p>It all started at Phoenix College with just four words</p> <p>Pastor had a lead role in bringing together the consortium to engineer and deploy the PHX DECC. In her unique position as a city councilwoman in America’s fifth-largest city and employed full-time as the community liaison for Phoenix Community College, Pastor is also an elected member of the Phoenix Union High School District Governing Board. She leveraged her connections pushing forward a digital divide solution.</p> <p>“Paul Ross and I were called into (then Phoenix College President Larry Johnson Jr.’s) office. He gave us a simple charge,” she said. “He said, ‘Solve the digital divide.’”</p> <p>Ross, Phoenix College Associate Vice President and CIO, came up with the idea of using existing technology and applications to create a digital canopy over a school district connecting students to virtual classrooms, homework assignments and schools’ digital resources over an accessible, no-cost, wireless high-speed intranet.</p> <p>“I first had the idea in 2016 in Ohio, again in 2017 in Washington, and I couldn’t get any traction on the idea of solving the digital divide with existing technology,” said Ross. “With the coming of the pandemic, this was no longer just something occurring in pockets; the ability to connect was affecting everyone, everywhere.”</p> <p>Able to tap into the cross-agency resources, Pastor built the collaboration.</p> <p>“I didn’t know how to solve the digital divide,” she said. “But I knew where to find those who would. I knew the city would have money from the CARES Act, as with the school districts in the college. If everybody contributed, we would have the know-how, the commitment and the money to make it happen.”</p> <p>Once the challenge of ensuring access to classrooms and education resources was on the table, the walls between the city, education, business and the telecommunications industry disappeared.</p> <p>“It is in the best interest of the city to make this a sustainable city at the end of the day, so you want to make sure that you have a level playing field for all of your families,” said Christine Mackay, director, Phoenix Community and Economic Development. “That means they all have access to a quality education so that they can find good jobs. That’s really what you want for all of your citizens.”</p> <p>She said that the telecommunications industry and business community were committed to a long-term solution for all our student’s educational opportunities. </p> <p>An investment in the workforce of the future</p> <p>As America’s fastest-growing large city, Phoenix is a magnet for growing companies and a steadily increasing demand for workers.</p> <p>“From an economic development standpoint, we couldn’t take a chance that we would have any gaps in our future workforce,” said Mackay. “We’ve really worked diligently across all sectors to create a place that makes Phoenix Arizona a great destination for high-wage technology-related businesses that we hadn’t seen before. They are really attracted to the workforce that we have.”</p> <p>The key is off-the-shelf technology</p> <p>No special consultants, no proprietary hardware; the charge was to make the solution fit maintenance and upkeep within existing school district budgets.</p> <p>Ross said the key to making it happen was thorough research. And he invested hundreds of hours reading specification sheets and testing off-the-shelf equipment. He had the makings for PHX DECC: free broadband connecting students to schools in a scalable concept and economically efficient solution. </p> <p>On paper, Ross and Pastor were holding a recipe for a solution to the digital divide.</p> <p>Finding a long-term solution</p> <p>“We have significant information about our students,” said Dr. Chad Gestson, superintendent of the Phoenix Union High School District. “We have a staggering number who live with food insecurity. (So we know) the students who live without access to resources, and they certainly live without access to technology.”</p> <p>Gestson said the priority was getting high-speed school access to families with a permanent solution.</p> <p>“Through the willing businesses, students could access WiFi in coffee shops; they could log on to the Internet near libraries and some public buildings,” said Gestson. “These are short-term solutions.”</p> <p>The pandemic showed that even the short-term solutions had significant problems.</p> <p>“When the pandemic hit, all students were sent home, and so were their parents,” said Ross. “This meant that the household internet connection was being used by parents for work and multiple students for school. There wasn’t the capacity for everyone at the same time. Plus, businesses that normally provided WiFi for students were also closed, and many turned off their wireless networks.”</p> <p>Pastor noted that the problem existed in her own home, where she juggled the role of parent, employee, board member and council member. </p> <p>“We had internet connection issues with all the video conferences and virtual classes,” she said.”</p> <p>For thousands of families, trying to go to school from home was impossible. They didn’t have food on the table, let alone a high-speed internet connection. Sitting in a parking lot at closed libraries and recreation centers helped, but it was not a solution for doing homework.</p> <p>It wasn’t just pockets here and there</p> <p>Ross observed that the pandemic highlighted digital divide problems that weren’t just scattered pockets in rural America. </p> <p>“Almost everyone with a student at home was impacted in some way by demands for bandwidth,” he said. “That was when we decided it was time to take the theory and test it in practice.”</p> <p>Phoenix wasn’t the only municipality facing the challenge. Other cities and organizations have attempted solutions. Reports say that costs skyrocketed, and the numbers served were limited. The answer coming from Phoenix College would serve 250,000 families for far less than other systems. Using off-the-shelf equipment, school districts could take on the system maintenance within their budgets. </p> <p>Micro concept tested with college students</p> <p>With seed money from the city of Phoenix, Ross put a test installation into play at Phoenix College. Students at the campus participated in the test, taking courses, doing schoolwork and tapping into resources. The microconcept was a resounding success.</p> <p>In summer 2020, the phase I deployment started. </p> <p>“We needed to blanket the school districts. I can tell you more about every pole under the (PHX DECC) canopy than anyone,” said Ross. “I walked neighborhoods; I talked to people; I checked out all the locations. I knew this would work.”</p> <p>The goal was to be ready for the start of the 2021-22 school year. The program goes live on September 1 in three school districts: Phoenix Union High School District and Alhambra and Cartwright elementary school districts.</p> <p>A public effort supported by business and the private telecom industry</p> <p>The WiFi canopy for the schools required security, high-speed broadband capacity, and individual districts’ ability to manage cost and maintenance within existing technology capabilities. PHX DECC delivers all three solutions. It required financial backing to make it possible, that’s where Phoenix played a major role.</p> <p>“ARPA and the CARES Act provide necessary federal funding to invest in a res​​ilient, strong future that will last for generations,” said Gallego. “Investing those monies into PHX DECC will create a more connected community and deliver the critical results our city needs.”<br></p> <p>The canopy connects students and parents to virtual classrooms and conferences, homework assignments, and school-curated resources. It does not provide unfettered access to the Internet.</p> <p>Telecommunication companies generally oppose cities and educational institutions offering broadband services. With PHX DECC, the Southwest Telecommunications Association is supporting the effort.</p> <p>“The cable communications industry supports this effort. We don’t want to see government entities competing with private businesses; this system does not compete,” said Susan Bitter Smith, Executive Director of the Southwest Cable Communications Association. “The Association understood the communities’ needs and the (PHX DECC)’s unique connection of student to classroom is giving underserved communities the help they need.”</p> <p>Affordable, attainable, scalable PHX DECC</p> <p>“We wanted something that any educational organization could use,” Ross said. </p> <p>Instead of issuing a blank check, the collaborative effort kept in focus the cost of maintaining the PHX DECC system.</p> <p>“We didn’t want districts to have to hire outside vendors with specialist costs to maintain the system,” said Pastor. “We wanted the districts to be able to integrate the maintenance into existing budgets and capabilities. We succeeded.”</p> <p>That controlled cost and using existing equipment make the system scalable and transferable to school districts anywhere. Ross is genuinely excited about what this means up and down the education ladder.</p> <p>“We are creating a program here at Phoenix College that trains our technology students,” he said.  They learn how to install, maintain and operate (PHX DECC), which can help them find jobs with schools locally or anywhere this system will be installed.”</p> <p>Those involved in the entire process say they almost get goosebumps thinking about how PHX DECC is a life-changing technology for families. </p> <p>“Our entire community is very excited that we’ve become involved in this intergovernmental effort to solve the digital divide,” said Gestson. “Once we roll out this network, our staff and faculty will truly be able to keep students engaged on nights and weekends. For our students, they are very excited.”</p> <p>Gestson said, “In this highly technological world, tech access should not be a privilege; it should be a right.”</p> <p>PHX DECC Phase I goes live on September 1.​<br></p> </html></div>https://www.phoenix.gov/econdevNewscedGraphic: Image of Phoenix at night with a wifi canopyCED#PHXDECC #GreaterPHXtogether #digitaldivide City of Phoenix Phoenix College PHX Union phoenix community and economic development, alhambra elementary school district, cartwright elementary school district, southwest cable communications association Eric Jay Toll602-617-3797eric.toll@phoenix.govhttps://www.phoenix.gov/newssite/Lists/MediaContact/Attachments/52/Eric_Toll.jpgPHXEconDev

 

 

​Phoenix, Direct Pack Highlight Full Circle of Plastic Recyclinghttps://www.phoenix.gov/newsroom/public-works/2637Public Works (Trash and Recycling)1/27/2023 11:00:00 PMhttps://www.phoenix.gov/newssite/Lists/NewsArticle/Attachments/2637/Newsroom_PWD_MRF floor.jpg​Phoenix, Direct Pack Highlight Full Circle of Plastic Recycling<div class="ExternalClassFF63C90DC98F485C9B8158A87EBB5337"><html> <div> <span style="font-size:13.3333px;">With <a target="_blank" href="/pio/superbowl">Super Bowl LVII</a> less than a month away, the City of Phoenix stands ready to achieve its goal of hosting the greenest Super Bowl events yet. By diverting 92% of waste produced at downtown Super Bowl activities away from the landfill, Phoenix would meet (and exceed) the EPA’s definition of a Zero Waste event.</span> </div> <div> <span style="font-size:13.3333px;"> <br> </span> </div> <div> <span style="font-size:13.3333px;">Recycling is one of the main waste diversion methods. While the Public Works Department collects and sorts recyclables in Phoenix, partners like <a target="_blank" href="https://www.directpackinc.com/">Direct Pack, Inc. (DPI)</a> take it from there, bringing plastics all the way through the remanufacturing process to become new food packaging items once again.</span> </div> <div> <span style="font-size:13.3333px;"> <br> </span> </div> <div> <span style="font-size:13.3333px;">“We don’t want recycling to be a mystery,” said Phoenix Public Works Director Joe Giudice. “We want every Phoenix resident to know what happens to the things they recycle – not only how they get sorted in our Materials Recovery Facility, but also where they go after that, how our partners like Direct Pack process them, and what the recycled items turn into. A transparent process can help people feel more fulfilled as they put items in their blue bins.”</span> </div> <div> <span style="font-size:13.3333px;"> <br> </span> </div> <div> <span style="font-size:13.3333px;">Each year, Phoenix processes recyclables from 400,000 households, including some material from other valley cities. All those items are taken to the Materials Recovery Center (MRF) where workers pre-sort items by pulling out things that shouldn’t be there (plastic bags and cords, for example). Disc screens then sort flat items (paper and cardboard) away from 3-dimensional items like cans, bottles, and plastic containers. From there, plastics are further separated from aluminum and glass.</span> </div> <div> <span style="font-size:13.3333px;"> <br> </span> </div> <div> <span style="font-size:13.3333px;">Of the seven different kinds of plastic, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) – a clear, lightweight plastic commonly used for beverage bottles and berry, bakery, and sandwich packaging – is the most recycled worldwide.</span> </div> <div> <span style="font-size:13.3333px;"> <br> </span> </div> <div> <span style="font-size:13.3333px;">“PET plastics are some of the most easily recycled plastics out there,” said Phoenix Public Works Deputy Director Eduardo Rodriguez. “That’s why it’s so important to get things like water bottles and plastic containers in the recycle bin. They can be recycled over and over again in many different forms.”</span> </div> <div> <span style="font-size:13.3333px;"> <br> </span> </div> <div> <span style="font-size:13.3333px;">That’s where DPI comes in. In 2022 alone, DPI purchased 8.1 million pounds of PET from the City of Phoenix and took it to Direct Pack Recycling in Mexicali, Mexico. There the material is sorted, chopped, and washed multiple times before it is put back into the production of new food packaging again.</span> </div> <div> <span style="font-size:13.3333px;"> <br> </span> </div> <div> <span style="font-size:13.3333px;">"With our newest recycling and recovery facility located only a few hours away from Phoenix, we can trace and recover all PET plastic collected in the area with a very low carbon footprint,” said Craig Snedden, president of Direct Pack, Inc. “This transparency is important, so you know that what you put in the recycling bin actually gets recycled and reused. The packaging you put in the recycling bin today can come back as your sandwich or berry packaging a month from now.”</span> </div> <div> <span style="font-size:13.3333px;"> <br> </span> </div> <div> <span style="font-size:13.3333px;">Phoenix’s partnership with DPI not only diverts 21 million pieces of thermoformed packaging away from the landfill each year, but it also brings those items through the full, circular business model of the recycling process.</span> </div> <div> <span style="font-size:13.3333px;"> <br> </span> </div> <div> <span style="font-size:13.3333px;">"Recycling plastic bottles and containers is one of the major ways we’ll reach our Zero Waste goals for Super Bowl LVII,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. “Having a partner like Direct Pack to buy and remanufacture the plastics we sort at our City of Phoenix facilities is essential to diverting waste away from the landfill.”</span> </div> <div> <span style="font-size:13.3333px;"> <br> </span> </div> <div> <span style="font-size:13.3333px;">To learn more about the sorting and remanufacturing processes of plastic recyclables, watch the virtual facility tours <a target="_blank" href="/publicworks/recycleplus">here</a> or fill out a <a target="_blank" href="/publicworks/zero-waste/signup">Zero Waste request form​</a> to schedule a free tour of the MRF.</span></div> </html></div>https://phoenix.gov/publicworksNews
Volunteers Needed for Water Wrangler Conservation Program https://www.phoenix.gov/newsroom/water-services/2635Water Services1/26/2023 4:58:00 PMhttps://www.phoenix.gov/newssite/Lists/NewsArticle/Attachments/2635/Wrangler_NR_BecomeAWranglerb.pngVolunteers Needed for Water Wrangler Conservation Program <div class="ExternalClass21C10981A79B4FD69DCEF3DF0B29C5BB"><html> <div>Phoenix Water is asking community members to donate their time to help others learn about the importance of water conservation.  <br></div> <div> <br> </div> <div>The continued Colorado River water shortage is a stark reminder of how important it is for everyone to reduce their water use. The innovative Water Wrangler program will teach people about water and empower them to share their knowledge with others. It is an excellent opportunity for community-minded people looking to be a positive influence. </div> <div> <br> </div> <div>The Water Wrangler program includes a 12-hour training program that spans four sessions and covers Water 101, Utility Operations, Water Resources and Conservation, and Outreach Education. After completing Phoenix Water Wrangler Institute, participants receive a Certificate of Participation and a shirt. In addition, they will get opportunities to serve as community representatives at local events, public meetings, and City of Phoenix programs. </div> <div> <br> </div> <div>Periods of drought are common in the desert southwest, sometimes enduring for decades. To be part of the solution, community members must adapt to the desert lifestyle and do their part to be water smart. Through information sharing and community engagement, the Phoenix Water Wrangler Institute will activate water conservation for the benefit of everyone in our community.  </div> <div> <br> </div> <div>To apply, <a href="/waterservices/waterwrangler" target="_blank"><strong>submit an online application</strong></a> by Jan. 31 for the virtual training.  </div> <div> </div> <div>These are the requirements to participate:  <br></div> <div> <ul> <li>Volunteers who are at least 18 years or older<br></li> <li>A high school graduate/GED equivalent, or higher</li> <li>An excellent communicator  </li> <li>Able to fully complete pre-service, required training</li> <li>Comfortable with public speaking, familiar with community development, and experienced in collaborating across diverse groups</li> <li>Creative, responsible, flexible, and self-motivated </li> <li>Passionate about learning and promoting water conservation and sustainability in our desert city<br></li> </ul> </div> <div> <strong>Where:</strong> Virtual via WebEx (or another digital platform).<br></div> <div> <br> </div> <div> <strong>When:</strong> Trainings are on Thursday evenings starting February 16 to March 9. Volunteer opportunities range across weekdays, weekday evenings, and weekends.</div> <div> <br> </div> <div> <strong>Deadline:</strong> Registration for the Spring 2023 cohort is now open until January 31, 2023. All four training sessions are required to complete the program.<br></div> <div> <br> </div> <div> <strong>Apply:</strong> <a target="_blank" href="https://phoenix.gov/waterwrangler"><strong>phoenix.gov/waterwrangler</strong></a>  <br></div> <div>  </div> <div>Media Contact:   <br></div> <div>Angela Serda  </div> <div>Public Information Specialist   </div> <div>Cell: (623) 499-8919 (call or text)  </div> <div>Email: <a target="_blank" href="mailto:angela.serda@phoenix.gov"><strong>angela.serda@phoenix.gov</strong></a><strong>  </strong></div> <div>   <br></div> <div>Volunteer Program Contact:   <br></div> <div>Emilie Brown<br></div> <div>Water Resource Specialist </div> <div>Phone: 602-495-5653</div> <div>Email:  <a target="_blank" href="mailto:emilie.brown@phoenix.gov"><strong>emilie.brown@phoenix.gov</strong></a><br></div> <p> <br> </p> </html></div>https://www.phoenix.gov/waterservicesNews
​Phoenix Launches Shared Micromobility Programhttps://www.phoenix.gov/newsroom/street-transportation/2634Street Transportation1/20/2023 11:30:00 PMhttps://www.phoenix.gov/newssite/Lists/NewsArticle/Attachments/2634/micromobility program launch event.jpg​Phoenix Launches Shared Micromobility Program<div class="ExternalClassC0D0AEAFFF0C4D0D9EB0D1149FF93540"><html> <p>​​The City of Phoenix launched its permanent Shared Micromobility Program on Friday by hosting a special event in downtown with vendors Lime and Spin. The vendors showcased their inventory of e-scooters, e-bikes, traditional pedal bikes and adaptive bikes to downtown stakeholders and the media.<br></p> <p>Various vendors have operated e-scooters in downtown Phoenix since September 2019 as part of a city-managed pilot program. On December 14, 2022, City Council authorized the Street Transportation Department to finalize an agreement with Lime and Spin to be the official vendors when the pilot program ended. The permanent program began Friday, and starts ahead of​​ an influx of visitors who will enjoy festivities scheduled to be held in downtown in February in conjunction with Super Bowl LVII.<br></p> <p>Each vendor is permitted to deploy as many as 1,500 vehicles within the program boundary area, with at least 20 percent being a mix of e-bikes and traditional pedal bikes. The micromobility​ vehicles will be available to operate from 5 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. daily. <br></p> <p>The vendors will offer options for individuals with disabilities, as well as reduced rates for those living on low income or who receive government assistance. Additionally, the city has designated some areas as Equity Zones, where historical disinvestment has resulted in a lack of transportation and economic opportunity. The vendors will be required to deploy 30 percent of their fleet within Equity Zones. Discounted rates will also automatically apply for trips beginning in Equity Zones.</p> <p>Learn more about the Shared Micromobility Program and view a program boundary and Equity Zones map by visiting <a target="_blank" href="/streets/scooters">Phoenix.gov/Scooters</a>.<br></p> </html></div>https://www.phoenix.gov/streetsNews

 

 

Community and Economic DevelopmentPHXEconDevhttps://www.phoenix.gov/econdevCommunity and Economic DevelopmentcedCEDhttps://www.youtube.com/user/cityofphoenixazhttps://nextdoor.com/agency-detail/az/phoenix/city-of-phoenixPHXEcondevphoenixecondevTwitter

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Super Bowl Info Pagehttps://www.phoenix.gov/newssite/Lists/AdBox/DispForm.aspx?ID=20https://www.phoenix.gov/newssite/Lists/AdBox/Attachments/20/Ad_Box_SuperBowl2.jpgSuper Bowl Info Page<div class="ExternalClassDABDA3F1FC3849B6BCF471D476F7DE2B"><html>Resources for Super Bowl LVII in 2023.<br></html></div>Newshttps://phoenix.gov/superbowl11/4/2022 7:47:31 PM2/13/2023 7:47:31 PM

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